April 11, 2001 -- Elton John's headline-grabbing, multimillion-dollar lawsuit against his former accountants and manager didn't win him a penny — though the singer says he plans to appeal the decision, announced today by a London High Court judge.
The flamboyant 53-year-old singer had sued accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers in London's High Court for negligence while it was managing his affairs. The case, which opened last October, also involved allegations against Andrew Haydon, former managing director of John Reid Enterprises, which also oversaw Elton's business affairs.
John, who was not in court to hear the verdict against him, claimed Haydon was negligent in allowing the firm to bill him for touring expenses, which he said should have been paid by the firm.
John Claimed He Was Out $20 Million
The singer said the disputed tour costs amounted to $20 million. Legal sources said he would also have to pay legal costs, estimated at $11.5 million, after the 43-day hearing.
During the case, the court heard repeatedly of John's extravagant lifestyle. The judge was told how the singer spent nearly $60 million in a 20-month period, including buying $420,000 worth of flowers.
John, who once boasted that he could find a shop in the Sahara desert, has four luxury homes and a passion for vintage cars, jewelry, and outrageous stage costumes and clothes.
Judge Says Facts Don’t Add Up
Judge Andrew Ferris said the losses John sought to recover from the accountancy firm "could not on any view be recovered by him."
And turning to the case against Haydon, Ferris said, "I have found this case fails on the facts," adding that the allegations against the former manager "would not in my judgment have amounted to negligence on the part of Mr. Haydon as a director of Sir Elton's companies."
John, informed of the outcome while on a tour stop in Atlanta with American singer Billy Joel, told the BBC, "Obviously I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal — which seems likely. As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers."
John's current manager, Frank Presland, also said an appeal was likely, adding, "I don't think he will cut back on his flowers."
Reuters contributed to this report.